Chantal’s Jardin in Virieu

Jardin & Cat
Jardin & Cat
La Maison Pinaud
La Maison Pinaud

On this day we were invited to paint in the garden of Mme and M Pinaud. She speaks some English so was telling us she was disappointed that the blooms were not out. We’ve had snow here until quite recently she explained, so everything is still to flower. For us it was fine. The settings were so lovely with mature trees setting it off.

I wanted an intimate  subject after all the architecture I seemed to be doing lately, so the old barn with lilac irises next to the rust red ones suited me. I had shade under the cherry trees ( not quite ready for me to pig out on) and Paloma the white fluffy cat was there at my feet. I felt I was in a nursery rhyme.

Today I felt like a green layer followed by a pink. Then sponged away where the highlights might be. The charcoal pencil sketch took place while the paper dried in the sun.

Lunch was our favourite spread of baguette, selected cheese and pate, fruit and drinks. Wine for those who feel it enhances their painting. We sat out in the open together soaking in the atmosphere and the rooftops and spires in view. This is the life.

The second painting is a detail of the old 17th century home, towards one of the doors and the comings and goings around it. This time a pink layer followed by green. Again Paloma keeps a yellow eye on things. That is M Pinaud in his green overalls wheelbarrowing things around. Chantal is in the doorway.

M Pinaud is also a photographer who decided we were worthy subjects for his impressive  camera, and with our minds elsewhere no doubt some candid expressions. The group shot he set up is off to the local newspaper as it’s big news for such a tiny town to have international painters working round and about.

At 6pm on the dot we walked 2 doors away to the glorious home and museum of Louis Fournier, to taste his walnut wine. The girls decided it was pretty nice and similar to a fruity but dry sherry. He is a historian not only of his own family here, but of Jongkind, a painter who lived and painted in Virieu at the start of the Impressionist movement. He signed a copy of his book ‘Virieu en Dauphine’ a history of the region. I liked it because of the  Virieu paintings by both Jongkind and Pierre Giacomino.

We realised how much good comes from doing what we do – visiting a little village painting what we feel and sharing with the locals. Louis is very enthusiastic about the history and local art life and to encourage visitors from far and wide to visit Virieu. If Jackie hadn’t chosen the town for our base, none of this would have happened. Now there is a real focus for the locals and they are so excited. Who would have thought.


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